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Let there be Light

Posted on: February 26, 2002 2:34 PM
Related Categories: Canada

A Toronto-based Anglican and lighting engineer is on a quest to improve lighting in churches as well as other spaces we inhabit.

Throughout his career he has been consulted on the lighting for dozens of churches and other buildings around the world. He believes that many churches have inappropriate, insufficient and poorly planned lighting.

"One significant problem is that ageing congregations in many churches often require improved lighting to read hymnals and prayer books. Like ramps, elevators and listening devices, improved lighting is another way of making churches accessible," says Mr Wotton. "We are renovating many churches now - especially post-war churches - and are making places suitable for people with all kinds of disabilities."

He recommends that the focus should be on the people that you want to see, such as the preacher (the pulpit), the celebrant (the altar) and the choir. If the worship space is to be used for drama or dance then that must be properly lit as well. If hymns or other texts are projected on a screen then the lighting should be directed away or it will obscure the text. If the choir sits in the chancel, they must have light from behind, in order to read their music, and from the front, so they can be seen.

Dark walls inevitably mean a dark space, regardless of the lighting. Lightening the colour of church walls will brighten the space. Often, older churches can improve lighting and still maintain an historic appearance by leaving the existing lighting in place and adding inconspicuous, modern lights to its existing complement.

Article from: ACC